Here you’ll find links to the top most important conservation and research reports on snow leopard conservation issues by experts from around the world.
The Snow Leopard Survival Strategy (SLSS) is a document developed through the cooperation and collaboration of many individual and organizational members of the Snow Leopard Network.
The membership includes leading snow leopard experts in the public, private, and non-profit sectors.
The SLSS aims:
- to summarize current knowledge on the distribution, status and biology of the snow leopard
- to consolidate the knowledge of snow leopard researchers and conservationists worldwide
- to identify the key threats to their survival, review the existing state of research and conservation programs, and identify priorities for action.
The specific goals of SLSS are to:
- Assess and prioritize threats to snow leopard across their range
- Define and prioritize appropriate conservation, education, and policy measures to alleviate threats
- Prioritize topics for snow leopard research and identify viable and preferred research methods.
One of the most comprehensive and powerful reports on the trade of wild snow leopards is “Fading Footprints – the killing and trade of snow leopards.”
It’s a huge piece of research, published in 2003 by TRAFFIC , sadly it makes quite depressing reading. At the time the research was conducted, despite legislation protecting snow leopards in most of their range countries, they are still being hunted and killed for fur and body parts for traditional medicines. When furs can be sold for $US300-$US800 its easy to see the incentive. Retribution killing by farmers protecting livestock is also still common especially in areas where they’ve not had education on how to protect their livestock.
Recognising that all the range countries have different challenges the report outlines many recommendations for how things could be improved, like strengthening enforcement of the laws. This makes sense. Having laws isn’t enough, if they can’t be enforced snow leopards hunting will continue. The anti-poaching team, the Gruppa Bars in Kyrgyzstan (see blog post here) is one example of where law enforcement has made a difference.
Other recommendations include helping the local communities that share snow leopard habitat. This is one of the most important things that both the Snow Leopard Trust and the Snow Leopard Conservancy are doing. It’s been found that when local communities understand how rare and endangered snow leopards are, they are often willing to work to protect the cats as long as the community is not financially disadvantaged.
The report is almost 6 years old. Much has been done by many dedicated agencies and people. But there’s no doubt the cats are still under huge threat in all range countries. Also much of the information needs to be updated.